About Us

Smart Works Birmingham opened in August 2016 to support unemployed women in the region through the Smart Works dressing and interview coaching service.

“Bringing the Smart Works service to Birmingham will provide a valuable and unique service for women in our city.  There are many support services available, but nowhere can they get the focused two hour service to provide them with the right outfit for their job interview, combined with coaching to give them the confidence to succeed.  I was so pleased to find the Smart Works service to plug this gap and am looking forward to bringing it to life in our area.”

Rebecca Debenham, Chair of Smart Works Birmingham and Chief Executive of Northfield Community Partnership

We give our clients a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep) and we provide one-to-one preparation training so they feel more confident and start believing in their own ability to succeed.

The two hours our clients spend with us can be transformative.

All of our Smart Works service delivery is provided by a team of highly skilled, fully trained volunteers and all our stock is donated through other working women or comes direct from our retail partners such as Hobbs, Whistles and Evans.

Introducing the team behind Smart Works Birmingham

We are grateful to our trustees and staff for their time and dedication on behalf of Smart Works Birmingham.

  • Rebecca Debenham is Chair of Smart Works Birmingham and CEO of Northfield Community Partnership.  She has twenty years’ experience in community development work and has managed two successful charities.  Her expertise includes fundraising, partnership working, community development and project management.  Rebecca is Vice Chair of Northfield Stakeholder’s Group and Chair of Arts 50 Alive – an intergenerational arts charity operating for over fifteen years.

  • Maxine Shanahan is Vice Chair of Smart Works Birmingham.  Maxine has thirty years’ experience in Further Education supporting older adults in to employment through a range of activities and courses.  Maxine taught administration and information technology, she then went on to oversee contract and compliance for externally funded programs such as the apprentice programs.

  • June Kathchild is a Trustee at Smart Works Birmingham.  June is an academic with forty years’ worth of experience researching teaching and advocating on behalf of women experiencing domestic violence.  June has worked as a lecturer at Birmingham City University (then UCE), Hill Croft Women’s College, Dudley College and Sandwell College.  She has a Master’s degree in Applied Social Studies and was a Development Officer for  Ransackers (encouraging older people’s education). A main focus of her professional life has been in working to create greater life opportunities for women through access to education, increasing our personal safety and defence of our reproductive rights.

  • Emma Bryan – info coming soon

  • Jennifer Crisp – info coming soon

  • Lynne Norledge – info coming soon

  • Sherron Beckles – info coming soon

  • Joanne Penn is the Manager of Smart Works Birmingham, looking after client appointments, volunteers, stock and some of our key partnerships.